Sunday, September 18, 2005

Quit Wasting My Time (and yours)

If you notice there are some deleted posts, I did it. If you are going to make comments just so you can link my blog to what you are selling, stop it, I will delete it. Thank You.

The Galley

In my ongoing search to find the perfect floor tile to use during the renovaton of my bathroom, I met my mother at the Galley in East Peoria. Located by CITGO gas station on Rt.116 in EP heading toward ICC, I was expecting a pretty good meal as I've eaten there previously.

We were seated immediately. As it was about 1:15, there were maybe another 15 people there at best. The woman who sat us also got our drink order. She returned with our beverages and within minutes, our waitress appeared. Mom had the tuna salad with a side of pasta salad and I had the homemade pork tenderloin sandwich with onion rings. Kinda of an atmosphere if you lived in Boston: 1/2 sports bar, 1/2 nautical. Anyway, mother & I had discussed most of the world's problems and solutions before the food arrived. It was 20 minutes AFTER I started checking my watch when our food finally arrived. If the place was jammed, I could understand it. The food, however, was really good. The tenderloin (my guess was actually pork loin) was thick, juicy, well seasoned and was almost more than I could eat. The onion rings were of the very thinly sliced variety and would bet a few $$ that they were house breaded. Mother claimed her tuna salad very good and the pasta salad better than most. About half way through our lunch, a woman in the kitchen started conversing in a very loud voice that we could hear out at our table. Not only was it loud, but there was the infrequent inappropriate word(s) that should have NEVER reached the dining room. Oh, the iced tea was very good, too.

So, I guess you should go when it's busy so they have an excuse for the tardiness of the food and the noise from a full house will drowned out the kitchen staff. Great food, pretty darn good service, but the kitchen staff obviously needs a kick in the ass and some duct tape.

See you around the table......

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Pizza Factory

OK, before anyone gets in an uproar, I ate at a chain restaurant; something I said I would not do this summer & fall in support of the "little guys". However, this franchise is the only one in Illinois..most are ready to fall in the ocean out in CA. And it is owned by fellow Peorians so it's not like I was suckin' down ribs at Applebees. In fact, there are probably more McDonald's in the Peoria-Bloomington metropolitan area that there are Pizza Factories. Regardless, I'm sure to catch some grief.

The place is located at 9010 N. Allen Road kinda behind the new Heartland Bank building across from the street from that red white and blue icon known as Wally World. You walk in and order at the counter. In a situation like this, one expects to look up and see the menu. There isn't one..it's on the counter. That makes it sort of rough deciding on what you want. However, it was soon pointed out that there are menus hanging on the wall. DUH. I guess in my defense, I was so busy looking up and over some guy's shoulder at the counter I didn't notice them. There are some apps., salads, pre-designed pizzas or a choice of about 25 ingredients to make your own (one ingredient was cashews..hmmm) and calzones. It appears they have a beer & wine license for those of you who firmly believe that pizza can only be eaten while consuming a frosty one. While waiting in line to get to the counter, I noticed the interior is pretty sparse except for the amount of TV's pumping out all the highlites from previous days sporting events. They have a "meeting" room available for parties and the like and a game room. We didn't notice any sounds of warlord-like cries or pit row at Indy so the joint must be fairly secluded. They have a lunch buffet so that is what we chose. When we got in line, they had about 4 different pizzas there..a cheese, a three cheese bacon, a pepperoni and a Canadian Bacon. They also had a few remnants of prior pizzas there including their southwest Chicken pizza. They also have a small salad bar. I like the crust here..kind of like Domino's original crust in thickness, but that is the only resemblance. This crust is fairly airy, but has a good a mount of "chew" to it. It's easy to bite through so it doesn't send piping hot cheese sliding down your chin. But once you start to chew, it, well, has some "chew". I kinda like this. However, when you get to the thick part of the crust at the edge, the chew gets a little much. I noticed that quite a few people were leaving their edges on their plates. The Canadian bacon was loaded and was very tasty. The bacon one was pretty good, too. The cheese was cheese and I doctored it with pepperoni from the salad bar and hot sauce. I went back when they brought out more pizza and tried the SW Chicken. I liked the flavor of the chicken and ingredients, but it was on regular ol' pizza sauce which I thought odd. They also had one that looked like "we scraped off the pizza making table" that looked inviting, but I was pleasantly full and thought another time.

I definitely want to go back and try a few combinations as they have some interesting ingredients.

See you around the table.....

Monday, September 05, 2005

Cinco de Mayo

Ok, there are more Mexican joints in Peoria than I can count on both hands which isn't as bad as Italian or Asian spots which require my toes. Have been to Cinco de Mayo twice in recent weeks. Both times, we sat outside. It's fairly secluded and you feel more like you are in someone's back yard where there is a social gathering going on. The waterfall, pond, stream thing that is back there must no longer be functional as it wasn't on either time.

The first time I was there, I had the Nachos (crap, I can't remember). It's the first Nachos on the appetizer menu for about $8.00. Don't order these if you have already eaten today or there are two of you. This is only an appetizer if you are the reincarnation of Andre the Giant or Goliath. This platter is a giant plate of your normal nachos ingredients without too much of that gooey yellow gunky cheese sauce. However, they are topped with a very good amount of shrimp, grilled chicken and seasoned beef strips. Mucho Grande, baby. My partner in margarita drinking crime, had the chicken enchiladas which she was quite satisfied with. On my next visit, it was the Texas Style Taco Salad. An average sized taco bowl filled with the usual lettuce, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and the same shrimp, chicken and beef as above. Also, don't waste your $$ on breakfast if planning to eat taco salads here for lunch. As for the margaritas, they are tasty, but nothing anyone would write home about and I think they switched something from the last time I was there. Last time, I could have sworn them to be a bit more green...as if they used a blanco tequila. This time they seemed a bit more golden, as if they used a gold or reposado tequila. Service was a bit slow after the initial bearing of the food, but we were having a pretty good time laughing at each other trying to finish our plates. The second time, they overcharged us by $10. I think it was an honest mistake..I think they added $10 instead of multiplying by 10% to get the tax. But all in all, I'm definitely going back to hang out on the patio before the snow gets here!! Ya want to go, give me a call!!

See ya around the table.....

New Orleans

Well, as some of you know, I was planning (had tickets, etc.) to go to New Orleans for a week in October. I've been to a lot of our great nation, but this is about the only place I really, really, really wanted to go that I had not been. Guess I'm not going. But I'm mad. No, not mad about not going, dejected, yes. I'm mad at some of the citizens and the government of New Orleans and Louisiana. And I'm mad at the media looking for every little horrible detail they can report on. I'm not going to be popular here, so my friends base may decrease.

1. The city of New Orleans knew, and have known, that if they were ever hit by anything greater than a Category 3 hurricane, they were going to have problems. They've known this for a long, long time. They've had close calls before, it should have been a wake up call. They should have been asking for federal aid and help from the Army Corp of Engineers ages ago to devise something to prevent this catastrophe. Ah, I hear they asked...maybe they needed to kick their legislators in the ass a bit harder or find ones that could come up with the $$. These governmental types have been told by people who project things like this for a living that N.O. was going to be screwed if they didn't do something. Did they do anything about it? NO!!! They are sure asking now. Instead of the triple digit billions it's going to cost the US taxpayer to fix my now defunct vacation spot, it probably would have taken just a couple of billion to prevent it. So, any political figure from New Orleans past and present and any Louisiana legislators, past and present, should be taken "out back" and have the shit stomped out of them and thrown into the flood waters. You people have known this could happen FOR DECADES, stood idley by, did nothing, collected your paychecks and now you have the balls to blame and point fingers at everyone else. SHAME ON YOU!!!!! Unfortunately, YOU people who deserve the nightmare conditions and depravity in N.O. are most likely being sparred from it. Like my father used to say: "It takes a $2 oil filter, $12 of oil and a 30 minutes of your time to change your oil. It takes 3 days and $3,000 to rebuild your engine". Maybe my dad needs to be the mayor of New Orleans.

2. Next, one would think that if a city sat below sea level, WAS NEXT TO THE OCEAN, and was subject to annihilation from a Category 3 or higher hurricane because they did nothing for decades to protect themselves from one, the city would have had some sort of emergency evacuation plan in order instead of the mayor getting on a bullhorn and shouting "EVERYONE, GET OUT NOW!!!!". (Damn, that was a long sentence.)

3. To the people of N.O. who were able to leave and\or had the means to do so and stayed: What? Are you on crack? Is crack legal in N.O., too? (We all know from a previous blog of mine that crack is legal at IDOT.) If someone told me that the East Bluff of Peoria had a 90% chance of getting slammed by a F5 tornado in 72 hours, you better believe I'm not going to stand on my roof with a Sam Adams "Black Lager" in one hand and giving God the finger with the other. If I had to walk to avoid traffic, I'd like to think I could drag my overweight ass far enough in three days to get away from the East Bluff. Granted, I may not have anything, but it's better than being Illinois River Flying Carp Chow at 43. But, you heard people on the news say "I was born here and I'll die here". "We've weathered bad storms before, we'll ride this one out, too". "There is a possibility the storm will move east before it hits". It's a category 5 hurricane, people. I live 1000 miles away and I'M scared of it!! The media (and I'll get to those morons soon enough) are using words like "biblical proportions, catastrophic, like nothing that has ever been seen before". What do you think that means? It means put down the crack pipe and run like hell. What is the matter with you? Was your mother a mermaid and you think you can live under water? These are probably the same idiots who are now screaming that the Army or other rescue teams aren't picking them off the top of their houses fast enough. The government is moving in just as fast as you moved out. For those of you who had the means to get out and chose not to do so, I'm sorry, but quit bitchin'! If you had means and ability and didn't go, it's your fault, not the federal governments'. (this isn't directed to those who had no way out)

4. I was appalled at all the shootings, killings, vandalism, looting, fires, rapes, personal attacks and lawlessness and the like after hurricane Andrew hit Florida. Oh, wait, THERE WASN'T ANY shootings, killings, vandalism, looting, fires, rapes, personal attacks and lawlessness after Hurricane Andrew pounded Florida!!! New Orleans, your own fellow citizens have taken lawlessness to a new level. I'm sorry, but if I'm a National Guardsman trying to bring you food and water in a helicopter and some idiot is shooting at me, I'm turning the bird around. Sorry. Maybe the NRA should have armed the people at the Superdome and told them to go out and shoot the idiots who were hindering their assistance. Shooting at rescue vehicles, trying to overturn busses, setting fires, etc. is (shit, I can't think of a word here...appalling and reprehensible do not do justice). But let me say this: If 12,500 heavily armed US Marines, a couple squadrons of Apache Attack Helicopters, The USS Abraham Lincoln and Rambo showed up and filled every person who was even vaguely suspicious of having anything more serious than an outstanding jaywalking ticket full of .50 caliber bullet holes you know what we'd hear next: That the US was subjecting N.O. to martial law and that this was the next Nazi Germany (or the like). The government, as much as I really hate to admit it, can't win here. The relief effort is slowed by N.O. terrorists, but if the government fought back, they are cold blooded, racist killers.

5. As for looting. I guess I can understand in those extreme circumstances that this would exist. The need for food, water, baby formula, toiletries, etc. will undoubtedly cause that. However, if you are running down the road with a brand new plasma TV, a set of golf clubs, a $200 pair of gym shoes and garbage bag full of pharmaceuticals you don't have a prescription for...... If Jet Li steps out from around the corner and kicks you in the head 47 times, well, in my opinion, he somehow missed you three times...so stand up... OH, DAMN!! WAS THAT A .223 MILITARY SNIPER BULLET THAT JUST RIPPED THROUGH YOUR SKULL? OOPPS.

6. Every news media person in N.O.: Do you people EVER get tired of constantly reporting on doom and gloom? No wonder there are so many people on anti-depressants...they watch the news!! Here is a thought for you. Gee, you look well groomed, fed and reasonably safe. There must be available food, water and shelter nearby. I seriously doubt you're driving 100's of miles each day to get there and back. Why not put down the cameras and microphones and have your broadcasting company fill that news fan of yours with some food and water? Obviously, you have a source. Do some real good for a change: do something that supports the positive instead of always projecting the negative.

7. (You'd think I'd be done by now. Nope.) I live in tornado alley close to a river. Tornados have been known to like rivers and follow them. The nastiest of all tornados, an F5, recently struck the area. Guess what type of insurance I have? One more. Arguably, we sit darn close to the New Madrid fault. My 90 year old home with some minor foundation quirks and settled walls sits on the edge of a hill that eventually leads toward the river. $11 a year for earthquake insurance. You bet. Now, I know N.O. probably had it's fair share of voodoo and black magic and the like. Obviously, along with it's legal crack issues it's effecting New Orleanians (or however that is spelled) minds. "We've lost everything. We don't have flood insurance." AAARRRGGGHHH!! What the HELL is the matter with you? You live in a city that is on the ocean, is below sea level and has one of the largest rivers in the world flowing (literally) through your backyard and YOU DON'T HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE???!!! I DON'T want whatever it is that you're smoking!! I understand that the insurance companies probably wanted a lot of dime for that type of insurance, if they even offered it at all (and if they didn't, I wouldn't have moved there) but wouldn't forty years of that type of premium be cheaper than what financial issues you have now? g;m/lbvf'gr'g;'lg'lrgdforo;l'dclfgkl;'pklf[gai5'9;3W78JG'A78FA;N[UMAJK'LOIPMGSD86AR (sorry, that was me banging my head against the keyboard.) State Farm and their fellow insurance fiends (that's not a misspelling, I meant to leave out the "r") are resembling Mama chanting "Hercules, Hercules" at the dinner table in the movie the Nutty Professor.

I don't want to come across as a cruel SOB by this blog. I am deeply saddened for the TRULY poor and downtrodden. For those who aren't overly concerned with financial well-being and believe that food, shelter, family and friends is all one needs to be happy in life, my heart does go out to them. I'm sorry people lost their possessions. My employer is matching contributions and I've donated. A relief group came into my store looking for food donations. Not usually our policy to donate out of the store. Well, my name is on the donation write-off so if I get a kick in the pants for it, so be it. (Personally, I'd like to donate a few hundred rounds fired from my S&W 9mm at the terrorists holding the city's relief effort hostage).

So, here is my thought. Mayor Ray Nagin. If you get lucky enough to get another term, you, or your successor, seriously need to get in your car, drive to Biloxi, meet with their mayor (and not over drinks and dinner at my expense), get out your 50 yard tape measure, have the Biloxi mayor show you how high the water got there, get back into your car, drive back to N.O., add 20 feet to that number and build a big f-in' wall in height that matches that number thus building a modern day Jericho. If you can't get that to work, how 'bout finding the lowest spot in your city. Put a 40 foot diameter storm drain in. Build many fences, etc. to keep garbage (and people) out. Run this drain under New Orleans, through Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona straight to Death Valley, CA. which is +/- 300 feet below sea level. Thusly, the next time a category 5 hurricane is heading your way, you pick up the phone and say "Hey, AHRNOLD, open da drain plug on your end." At 125 degrees in D.V. the excess ocean water would evaporate in minutes. They built the Alaskan pipeline.....

So, I'm sure I have pissed off people and will have former friends after this. But I had to get it off my chest.

See you around the table (if it isn't floating).....